9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Governance, Participation and Local Politics Building I, 2E9

Nationalism in National Identity: How Strong Identity Remains Nationalistic and Takes Patriotism Down a Peg or Two

The current global economic crisis could bring a comeback of the nation-state and nationalism could gain a critical moment. National identity and how it is employed in everyday practices therefore remains of crucial important for studies in social research - if history is not supposed to repeat itself. Recent theory illustrates the possibility of national identity opposing discriminatory and exclusionary orientations in contrast to more ethnocentric viewpoints. Thus, whilst "non-nationalistic" national identity is likely to exist, this paper argues that the character of national identity is heavily intertwined with strength of identification - the more exclusive identities are the stronger people identify with their country. Drawing on cross-national survey data from the ISSP 2003 on national identity, a persisting superior and anti-global character of very strong national identities is found. National self-criticism plays a clearly subordinate role in shaping strength of identification with one's country. This challenges the notion of more reflective and open-minded national identity and bears heavily on contemporary politics and society which widely sympathize with national identity whilst uncritically upholding its benevolent character.